The Keeshond: A Complete Guide

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The Keeshond is an old dog breed. It was once a companion and watchdog on the barges and boats that traveled the canals and rivers of Holland in the 17th and 18th centuries.

He’s almost exclusively a companion dog today. He’s a people-lover. He loves joining in on all kinds of family activities.

He is lively, alert, and intelligent; qualities that earned him the status of the most beloved dog in Holland.

While the Keeshond will issue a stern bark when someone approaches his property, he’s such a love that he will readily accept anyone his owner brings into the household.

Suffice it to say, he isn’t a very effective guard dog. The Keeshond is a fan of cool weather. He likes spending time outside when the weather is crisp.

However, he isn’t a backyard dog. He’s too people-oriented for that. He needs to be where the action is.

The Keeshond loves children and plays nicely with them. He also gets along with other dogs and pets if he is introduced to them at a young age.

Besides being an excellent family pet, today’s Keeshond can strut his stuff in the conformation ring, obedience ring, and rally competition.

He’s also sure-footed, which makes him a great agility competitor.

Keeshond Puppies – Before You Buy…

A small Keeshond puppy smiling at you
The Keeshond is quiet, sensible, and cheerful.

What Price are Keeshond Puppies?

The price of Keeshond puppies is anywhere between $800 to $1,000.

How to Find Reputable Keeshond Breeders?

Looking online is an obvious and tempting place to start looking for breeders.

But unless they have been recommended to you or are affiliated with recognized clubs, then you could be wasting time on disreputable ones.

Instead, consider asking your local vet, visit a dog show, or look online at kennel clubs, breed clubs, or dog organizations.

Personal recommendations are also great. If you know someone who has a fantastic dog, ask them who their breeder is.

When you find a breeder, you can ask them questions that can help you identify whether they are a good breeder or not.

Find out how long they have been breeding dogs. Most serious breeders have been dedicated to the practice for some time.

There is a little substitute for experience. The longer someone has been breeding, the more knowledgeable they will be.

A responsible breeder will not breed an animal until it reaches full maturity. They raise their puppies in the very best environment, like a regular household.

This ensures that the puppies get used to regular visitors, children, and other animals.

Puppies that are raised in a family environment are more likely to be friendly and relaxed. Those who are isolated from humans are prone to anxiety, aggression, or shyness.

Reputable breeders can give you useful information about the physical and temperamental characteristics of the dogs, as well as their complete health information.

Reputable breeders will be happy to give you references. They may even refer you to other good breeders that they know.

3 Little-Known Facts About Keeshond Puppies

  1. The Keeshond is never reluctant to issue a warning bark to alert his family to strangers. His inclination to bark can be a problem if he’s left on his own all the time.
  2. The best way to make a Keeshond miserable is to keep him separated from his family.
  3. He was known as the “Dutch Barge Dog” because of his role as guardian and companion on small boats in the rivers of Holland.

Physical Traits of the Keeshond

A Keeshond looking to the side
The Keeshond is a very people-oriented canine.

The Keeshond is a naturally handsome dog with a sturdy, well-balanced body. He has a fluffy coat and an endearing, foxlike facial expression.

This is a medium-sized breed that should not be extremely fine-boned or coarse.

The Keeshond is distinguished by a thick, wolfish gray coat, with a spectacular ruff of fur around his neck and darker shading on his face.

He has a tail that is fully-plumed tail and curls at the back. His muzzle is small and pointed. He has velvety pricked ears that are characteristic of the breed. The Keeshond is covered with long, straight, and slightly harsh hair.

Its head is covered with smoother, softer, shorter hair. The coat is long around the neck, chest, and shoulders, creating a full lion-like mane that is prominent in males.

The Keeshond’s coat color can be a mixture of cream, black, and gray. The tips of the outercoat hairs are black, creating the shading patterns that are very distinct in these dogs.

The undercoat is cream or pale gray that has no hint of brown or red. Keeshond puppies are usually less intensely marked than adults.

The Keeshond’s muzzle and ears should be very dark, preferably jet black. Despite his dense coat, the Keeshond is not a high-maintenance dog.

He needs a thorough brushing several times a week to keep the shedding and matting to a minimum and to distribute the natural oils across his coat.

How Big is a Full-Grown Keeshond?

Keeshond males can grow to 18 inches tall and weigh about 45 pounds. Females stand at 17 inches and weigh around 35 pounds.

What is the Life Expectancy of the Keeshond?

The life expectancy of the Keeshond is 12 to 14 years.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Keeshond

An adult and puppy Keeshond looking happy
The Keeshond is an old dog breed.

The Keeshond was bred more to be a companion than a watchdog. He’s not a hunter, and he does not have an innate desire for any special job.

He is a devoted friend. He’s also intelligent and highly trainable. He’s so smart that he can be a little mischievous.

Expect the unexpected with these fellows. Despite this, the Keeshond easily learns proper manners and can excel in the obedience ring.

A Keeshond is lively, alert, and full of personality. When he’s excited or happy, he likes to share his joy with everyone, often spinning in circles.

His outgoing personality, as well as his love of adults and children, endears him to all.

The Keeshond’s Diet

Keeshond dogs have specific health and nutritional needs. They need to be fed on a diet that is high in carbohydrates and proteins since they are active.

This diet will allow them to grow strong and energetic and, therefore, capable of serving their intended purposes.

Keeshond dogs have thick and luxurious coats. Besides grooming, these double coats need to be cared for with proper diets.

To maintain the rich look and feel of their coats, you should make sure the dog’s food contains Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids.

This will also go a long way in maintaining the health of the dog’s skin. Keeshond dogs are prone to skin diseases that may affect their longevity.

Such diseases include Acanthoma and Ehler-Danlos syndrome. Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids will help them absorb nutrients better and help them live longer.

Also, if your commercial food includes cooked meat, it could lack adequate amounts of protein.

That is why you may want to prepare food for your dog at home. The more cooked your dog’s meat is, the less the nutritional content.

Heat kills enzymes and antioxidants that are required for the proper health of your dog.

While some advocate a raw diet for dogs, it should be noted that the diet is controversial and it is important to consult your dog’s veterinarian for a professional opinion.

How Much Exercise Does a Keeshond Need?

The Keeshond is a sturdy, nimble, game dog that enjoys accompanying its owner on outings.

He loves to go on long leisurely walks at parks, beaches, or just around the neighborhood.

He is playful, adventurous, and more than willing to try new activities. He does not need an enormous amount of exercise, but he will do best with regular walks and activities.

Keeshond Health and Conditions

Health conditions that can affect this breed include primary hyperparathyroidism, patellar luxation,

Ehler-Danos syndrome, hyperadrenocorticism, patent ductus arteriosus, generalized keratoacanthoma, diabetes mellitus, and nasal cavity carcinoma.

Epilepsy, hip dysplasia, cataracts, glaucoma, hypothyroidism, and adult-onset growth-hormone-responsive dermatosis can also be a concern.

My Final Thoughts on the KeeshondA Keeshond dog with long hair

Compared to other breeds in the Spitz family, the Keeshond is quieter, more sensible, and less dominant.

Bright, cheerful, and lively, the Keeshond needs moderate exercise. But more importantly, he needs companionship.

He is very people-oriented. He craves attention and petting and needs to be fully involved in the family.

His attitude toward strangers varies from friendly to polite.

There is timidity in some lines, so early socialization is important to build an outgoing and confident temperament.

The Keeshond has a very sharp sense of hearing. He can also be quite emotionally sensitive.

He reacts more to loud noises compared to other breeds. He also does not do well in an environment with tension or shouting.

This is not a guard dog. Keeshonds will bark, but it’s usually welcoming rather than protective. Most are peaceful with other pets.

The Keeshond is very independent and can be quite mischievous. Focus on gentle, positive reinforcements and reward with food or praise.

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